"Marker Starling is a pop project with shadings of R&B, melodrama, mix tapes, shopping malls, experimental films, Herman Melville, and eternal hope in the face of everyday despair. It’s about trying to scale the heights of your heroes."
Marker Starling aka Mantler (aka Chris A. Cummings) was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1969. As a young child he wrote pop songs on the piano, which were thoughtfully preserved by his parents on cassette. He subsequently studied classical piano for 14 years but changed his creative focus from music to film writing and production.
During and after film school he became an avid record collector and DJ specializing in Rare Groove and Soul Jazz. In 1994 he realized a lifelong dream to play a vintage electric piano, when a chance meeting with a fellow record collector resulted in his rehearsing with an instrumental groove-oriented band in Mississauga, Ontario. Following its break-up in 1995, he resolved to keep going by himself, and started writing and recording songs as Mantler, a name he felt reflected both the seriousness and the humour of what he was recording.
In 1997 two Mantler songs were included on the first compilation by Toronto dance label Play Records. in 2000, Mantler's first full-length CD Doin' it all was released on independent US jazz label Le Systeme. Sadisfaction has been Mantler's first release on Tomlab and has helped to introduce him to a wider audience: a very ambitious album that combines the seventies soul of Sly Stone, Curtis Mayfield and Willie Mitchell with the sixties pop of Love, The Beach Boys and Buffalo Springfield, and an attempt to leave behind the 'retro' tag in favour of a forward-looking vision. At the same time it has been a departure from the more groove-centred recordings of the past, an attempt to rein in looser structures and put them into a pop straitjacket.